Detail from The Canal, Amsterdam, 1889, James McNeill Whistler, The Hunterian, University of Glasgow

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Copy after Greuze's 'La Cruche cassée'


According to Thomas Armstrong (1832-1911) (quoted by Lamont), who was with Whistler in Paris in the late 1850s, Whistler was commissioned to paint copies after Ingres and Couture (Copy after Ingres's 'Roger délivrant Angélique' [YMSM 011], Copy after a Group in Couture's 'Romains de la décadence' [YMSM 018]), and then 'two more pictures' in the Louvre collections chosen by his patron, whom Armstrong described as 'a whaling captain.' 1 This copy may have been one of these.

However, it is possible that it went instead to a member of Whistler's family. There is a cryptic reference in a letter from Whistler to his sister-in-law Helen ('Nellie') Euphrosyne Whistler (1849-1917) in 1900,

'As to the Greuze, my advice is not to hesitate! unless I know more -

I am astonished at your being offered £60. for it - if it were an original, its market value might be anything - but perhaps ten pounds - or say £15 - at most -

I should say then take the sixty by all means.' 2

Unfortunately there is no further reference to this and it is possible that it was a print after a painting by Greuze rather than Whistler's copy.


There is no record of an exhibition.


1: Lamont 1912 [more], pp. 178-79.

2: [24 October 1900], GUW #11658.

Last updated: 21st November 2019 by Margaret